Council to close two Leeds golf courses

Golfers play the icy fairways at Middleton Park Golf Club, Leeds.
Golfers play the icy fairways at Middleton Park Golf Club, Leeds.
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Cash-strapped Leeds City Council is proposing to close two golf courses under plans to save over £51m next year.

The closures of Middleton Park and Gotts Park courses are among a raft of measures to cut costs and raise more income contained in the council’s initial 2013-14 budget proposals, which form part of a wider four-year financial plan.

The council has already made £145m in savings over the past two years and with yet more needed Coun Keith Wakefield, council leader, has warned the city faces “unprecedented challenges” as it struggles to cope with public spending cuts and increased demand for some of its services.

Other ideas proposed for consideration as part of the financial plans include scrapping school clothing allowances, charging for permits issued as part of residential parking schemes, seasonal closure of some heritage facilities, reduced opening hours at some sport centres, a review of bowling greens which could see the maintenance of some greens transferred to clubs, increased burial and cremation charges and a review of allotment charges. A report prepared for senior councillors says that both Middleton Park and Gotts Park golf courses run at a loss and the numbers using them continue to decline.

It adds: “There is no evidence that those who use the courses would be unable to access other facilities in the city. Returning the golf courses to parkland will achieve savings and also open up large areas of land to general public use.”

Mike Best, a season ticket holder for the city’s municipal courses and regularly plays at Middleton and Gotts Park, said both courses were well used. The council will set its 2013-14 budget next February.

Coun Wakefield said: “People have said they want us to protect vulnerable people first and foremost and that’s what we are doing through a number of funding packages in the budget.” Over the past two years the council has shed 1,800 jobs and closed 13 libraries.

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